Oliva Nova, Spain – November 29, 2020 – Edwin Smits (SUI) and Farezzo took the top honours in Sunday’s CHG – Construcciones Hispano Germanas S.A – Grand Prix CSI 2*, a 1.45m jump-off challenge during the Autumn MET Series in Oliva Nova, Spain,
The Swiss and the 10-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding (Arezzo VDL x Van Gogh) secured first place after producing the only double clear of the class.
The Grand Prix concluded the first of the two last weeks of competition at the autumn edition of the 2020 Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, which is run under strict Covid-19 protocols.
Today, it was a tough course designed by Isabel Fernandez de Canete (ESP) that waited for the horses and riders. The biggest challenge was perhaps created by the time allowed, which was very tight. In the end only four horse-and-rider combinations out of the 85 in the class managed to deliver clear rounds on the right side of the clock to move on to the jump-off.
“The most difficult factor today was definitely the time allowed,” Smits commented after his win. “A lot of riders ended up chasing the time, and in the end you saw many of the horses losing their power a bit. The last line with the triple bar to the double of uprights was tricky too, and with the time allowed coming into play it was easy to make mistakes there.”
First back for the jump-off was Smits, who had a clear strategy as number one to go against the clock. “My horse Farezzo is by nature not the quickest, and I knew there were some really fast riders coming behind me so I thought it would be good to make a little bit pressure but not over-do it,” Smits commented afterwards on his jump-off round in 44.41 seconds. “I hoped to pressure those to come to take a bit of risk.”
Smits’ plan worked out perfect. Next in the ring, Katharina Offel (GER) and Chaning Tatum (Canturano x Balou du Rouet) brought the time down to 42.05 seconds but did not have luck on their side as a pole on the very last oxer fell to the ground just as they crossed the finish line. Third to go, the extremely fast couple Richard Vogel (GER) and Floyo VDL (Baltic VDL x Contender) looked as if they were on their way to another victory but unfortunately also they had to see a pole fall to the ground – on the penultimate vertical – slotting into second place with a time of 39.74. As last to go Andres Vereecke (BEL) and d’Artagan RR (Diamant de Semilly x Calando I) set off at a high pace, but had to see three poles fall along the way – leaving the victory to Smits, second place to Vogel and third to Offel.
“I’m really pleased with Farezzo today. This is his first Grand Prix win, but he already did some great things last year and I think he is a horse we’ll see a lot more from in the future,” Smits said. “I bought him two years ago in Holland from Niels Knape. He looked a bit slow back then, but he is incredible scopey and tries to be so careful – and I could see his quality already then. I have worked a lot on his dressage to make him more elastic, so now he is also getting faster.”
“I’m very happy to be here in Oliva Nova,” Smits continued. “During the first wave of the pandemic, I think a lot of horses and riders benefitted from the break – it turned out not to be a big problem. The horses could take a deep breath. However, after having had this break I think it’s important that we can keep on jumping now – also in competitions so that the horses don’t get too rusty. The experienced ones get quickly back on track, but we have other horses that need to keep on going. I believe it is important to show for the riders too, we all need to have targets.”
As to his own targets for the last week in Oliva Nova, Smits aims to jump Farezzo in the concluding Grand Prix while some of his younger mounts will get their chance to shine in the other world ranking classes. “Then for Farezzo the year is over, and we will have to figure out what we do next!” the happy winner closed off.
For full results, please click here.
Source: Press release from the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour
Photo: © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com